Looking back to that first small event in 1990, we were skating on thin ice: we had little experience, only 50 per cent of tickets were sold before the festival, the weather over the weekend was terrible – the one small marquee on the Rec was nearly blown away. But we survived, thanks to a late sales surge and also in no small part to Roger Horton, our long time president, who put up the money for Humph’s band in the Mowlem until we had the ticket money. And some of those fans who came are still with us. Over the years we’ve had some problems, none more serious than the monsoon of 2012. Once again we were saved by the support of fans – £5500 collected covered a large part of the extra costs we incurred.
There is list of the bands and individual musicians who have played at the Festival on pages 30-33 of the programme, but there are some who have given our members particular pleasure who are no longer with us: Humphrey Lyttelton, Dick Morrissey, Chris Blount, Spike Robinson, Cy Laurie, Campbell Burnap, Stan Tracey and most recently Bobby Wellins.
We hope you enjoy the Festival. For those of you coming to your first festival, the programme is our regular mix of well-known names and some of the younger generation who are keeping jazz alive in Britain. From the New Orleans sounds of the Old Hat Jazz Band to the early big band of Keith Nichols’ Blue Devils, from the Dixieland of the Dixie Strollers to the swing of the Meer Cats, from the modern mainstream of the Newton-Tracey Octet to the adventurous contemporary bands of Arun Ghosh and Laura Jurd, we think you’ll find something to please you throughout the weekend.
There are four stroller venues, two marquees and two indoor, and all are accessible by wheelchair. We will run an all-day bus service from Sandpit Field (Marquees 1 and 2) to the Methodist Church and (on Saturday only) the Conservative Club. See timetable and details at each venue, and also in the final programme leaflet.
We are very pleased to again welcome four bands of school students this year – Dorset Youth Jazz Orchestra, Alton College, Mountbatten School from Romsey and JO QE from Queen Elizabeth School, Wimborne Minster. We hope some of you take the time to listen to them and enjoy their music.
As always, I try to programme so that no venue becomes too crowded, but very occasionally our stewards do have to limit entry to a venue for the safety of ticket holders. Please cooperate with the stewards who are all volunteers. We hope you have a happy and trouble-free weekend, but if you have a problem, speak to a steward, who will call one of the committee if she or he can’t resolve it.
The collections at the church service will go, as in past years, to Julia’s House, a local charity that provides hospice care and respite for gravely ill young people and their parents. Collections on the brass band parade on the seafront and in the venues on Saturday night will be split between Julia’s House and the other children’s charities we have adopted. Compass is a group that provides support and protection to street children in Central and Latin American countries; Afrikids works with local organisations in Ghana to create a better quality of life for vulnerable children; and Touch Africa a South African children’s charity, which ‘aims to make school a better place for children’. In 2015, you helped raise nearly £1800 for which the charities were very grateful.
We would also like to thank our sponsors: the PRS for Music Foundation, Dorset Brewery Co, Enterprise Inns and Gee Whites. Thanks also to Swanage Town Council for permission to use the performance sites; to Swanage Carnival (and especially their erection crew) and Danny at Marquee Elegance for the marquees; and the Methodist Church and the Conservative Club.
I‘d like to thank our treasurer Mel Norris, who runs the ticket office and balances the books; John James who organizes the advertising that pays for the programme; Rik Rose and the team at Purbeck Music Services, who provide us with brilliant sound and light; my son-in-law Dean Storer, who designed and managed our web site; Julian Phillips for his excellent pianos, and Paul and Jen Burrows who’ve designed our adverts. I’d also like to thank all the stewards who have contributed to the Festival weekend over the years, and especially the senior stewards who have taken on the stressful task of seeing that the Festival runs smoothly – John James, Adrian Blundell, Jean and Bernard Bettles, James Edgar, John Challis, Rud Bagalo (who organises the bars) and David Holman and David Hopkins who manage Sandpit Field. Also the friends who provide much-needed accommodation for many of the musicians. Finally and not least my extended family and friends who have contributed so much to the Festival over the past twenty eight years; and most of all my wife Anita, who suggested we should have a Jazz Festival 29 years ago, for her enormous patience since that first hectic, occasionally frantic first year and through the years that have followed.